Big Rapids, MI - Ferris State
Heading up to Big Rapids next month for work. Wondering if there's anything in town I should check out. I'll only be there for a day or so, but I will be staying overnight.
Prefer pubs, burger joints, sandwiches, cafe's, or pizza places...don't do International cuisine other than Italian or Mexican....
Also wouldn't mind knowing if there are any places that I have to stop between Kalamazoo and Big Rapids (Grand Rapids excluded)
Current update: we now have shawarma in the BR! Nawal's Mediterranean Eatery, Gourmet Cupcakes and Desserts.
Yep, you read that right. Cupcakes and shawarma in the same place. She's Egyptian, so her take on shawarma is a little different than I'm used to, but it's by far the most ethnic food we've got in this little burg, so I'm a supporter. I'll probably be getting lunches there a lot when school is back in session. The cupcakes are too sweet for me, but they are still better than what's available at Meijer, so I do hope she succeeds. They now carry ice cream, and are making shakes with your choice of cupcake blended with ice cream and milk...this may be genius, but I am waiting for a day with a VERY long bike ride before I'm willing to invest the calories.
Also: the Bennigan's in the Holiday Inn is no more. It is now a generically-branded hotel restaurant. Haven't been since the switch, but I can't say I'm surprised that B's pulled out - there was never anybody in there.
Giving this a bump because there is actually something new in town. Crankers (yes, the hot dog/diner place) has opened up a brew pub. The beers, while not adventurous, are solid, and better than what Blue Cow is turning out. The Bulldog Red is my preference for easy summer drinking, and the IPA is a little lighter than you would expect from a Michigan microbrew, but well-balanced and very tasty. Also on offer: a blonde and a stout, with a brown ale on the way very soon. The menu varies by time of day - from 3-9 you can only order from the brew pub menu, which is a bit more sophisticated than the regular Crankers menu. On Sundays, that is the only menu offered on the brewery side all day. But any other time, you can order from the diner menu - the two are physically connected, but the brewery closes while the diner is open 24 hrs. Big Rapids really needed a place where grown-ups can hang out, and this place is trying very hard to provide it. So far, they seem to be succeeding, and I wish them well.
Oh, and on the pizza front, I did eventually try Pizza King. Greasy, but bland. I now order from Jet's, since I think our Mancino's has gone downhill.
Interesting. I've eaten at the Crankers in Mt. Pleasant a couple of times for nostalgia reasons. (Whatever was on that spot when I went to CMU 20 odd years ago was our go-to weekend breakfast spot.) I couldn't imagine them going this route but why not? Opportunity was knocking. I'll have to ceck it out next time I'm in that area. Thanks, Wahooty.
Okay, I know this is an ancient thread, but what the hell, I'm reviving it. It's a slow Sunday night, and Lord knows I've run into enough business travelers at BW3 to think my advice might be useful to someone.
We have a Ruby Tuesday's, an Applebee's, the aforementioned BW-3, and a Bennigan's (which I don't need to alert anyone to since it's in the Holiday Inn, which is where most visitors stay anyway). You know what you're likely to get there. BW-3 always has something from Short's, New Holland, Bell's, etc. on tap, and I happen to think the bartenders are awesome, so I spend more time than I'd like to admit there.
If you want to branch out into something less chain-like...
Downtown, there are Schuberg's and the Blue Cow Cafe. The former is a fun bar with a mix of locals, students, and Ferris staff/faculty. Expect the usual bar-food lineup of deep-fried frozen appetizers (i.e., the same jalapeno poppers you can get at the grocery store) , burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips, steaks, etc.. Whole place has a friendly-dive-bar quality, and a handful of interesting beers mixed in with the generic tap selections.
Next door: Blue Cow. Only "upscale" resto in BR. I'm a semi-regular there, because sometimes after a long day of teaching you just need someone to make you dinner and this is the closest I can come to the way I cook at home. The burger is, when cooked right, spectacular. So is the cheesecake (the regular, not the peanut butter mousse one). Other entrees are hit-or-miss, as is the service. It's a small-town operation, and much of the staff are students. If your expectations are in check, then you can have a perfectly nice dinner there. Probably the only place in town making any effort towards being local and/or sustainable. Also officially a microbrewery, but I find the other beers they carry are generally better than the ones they make.
Next door: Peppers Cafe & Deli. I have not been, but my parents had breakfast sandwiches there and pronounced it "fine." Will have to see if I can expand this entry over time.
Across the river: A La Mode Cafe. My personal go-to spot when I want to go out for breakfast - big, gooey omelets with lots of cheese. They use real sauteed slices of portobello mushrooms, not canned...touches like this make me happy in a tiny small-town diner. Biscuits and gravy were too bland for me, but probably not any worse than Bob Evans/Dennys/etc. They also have pasties, but I haven't gotten the chance to try one yet.
Head up 231-N a bit to get to Van Brocklin Bakery if you are craving donuts.
Pizza: We have Pizza Hut, Jet's, and Domino's...I generally order from Mancino's. They have by far the best-tasting crust, but I have some issues with other ingredients (canned mushrooms on pizza = gross, but canned mushrooms on a salad = cold, clammy, unadulterated evil.) Pizzeria Vivo has some better toppings but a fluffier, crispier crust that I personally like less than the chewier one at Mancino's. Snyder's has started doing pizza (as well as delivering anything in his shop - including wine and beer), and while he has excellent toppings, I flat-out hate his crust and sauce. The former too fluffy and bland, and the latter too sweet.
There's also Pizza King, which for reasons unbeknownst to me I have yet to try.
109 N Michigan Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307
Blue Cow Cafe
119 N Michigan Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307